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Back in the Saddle

7 Oct

Today is Thursday, so it should be a clear and simple Things I Love Thursday post, but I also wanted to address that I haven’t really written in a very long time as well. Oh, and also that it is Lightcasting day!

As most of you know, I started traveling back in April. I didn’t bring my laptop with me because I wanted to travel light and I wanted to know that if I dropped my bag or it got kicked, or worse even, stolen, that I wouldn’t have lost a very expensive piece of equipment. This is probably good, because when I got to Greece, I actually lost my phone… that was a nightmare for about 5 minutes and then suddenly I felt very free. No phone, no personal computer, just me sort of roaming around. Almost all of the travelers I met along the way were busily keeping up with a travel blog, either with words or with photos, and I really envied the way that they had decided that there was no better time then RIGHT THEN to start chronicling their lives out loud. But I’ve never been one to be able to write anything even vaguely interesting in a room full of people, and that is right where most hostels/hotels plunk their open use computers. Which is why the only real updates you got from me along the way were when I was in Budapest and in the quiet darkness of Katie’s computer lab or Germany, when I had private access on a super rainy day. Most of the rest of the time I scribbled in my notebook when I found the time, mostly on trains, sometimes in poppy fields when I sat to take a rest, or on rainy afternoons curled up on a hostel couch when everyone else was out braving the storms or drinking heavily in the lounges.

When I finally got back to the UK, all I wanted to do was again, be out on the streets of London and Edinburgh, to see my best friends and the places that I loved so dearly. I wanted to sneak into Harvey Nicks again and eat jelly beans. I wanted to go look at pretty paintings in the Victoria Albert Museum. Make pancakes for Becca and Nils. Eat Indian with Nick or Mexican with Jason. I wanted to drink vodka in a Polish vodka bar with all my friends, or just wander the wet streets of Scotland, listening to Frightened Rabbit.

But now I am back in NY, once again making life plans and sorting things out. I feel like I am constantly having new beginnings and start overs, but I’m happy for that. I’m happy that a lot of the time I get to being brand new, even though I suppose, over the years, it has been stressful. But just being back upstate has, surprisingly, been fun. I got to reconnect with my amazing friend Rhea and her awesome husband and their super sweet dog Riley, make a few new friends, and develop some amazing plans for what’s next. I even got a new dog, something I have been dying for the entire time I lived overseas. You just can’t have a dog when you don’t have a permanent visa, so the first thing I did when I got back to the states was mark my commitment to being here with the adoption of a shelter dog. Her name is Ava and she mostly a pretty good  :)

So these are all things I love right now. Beautiful, amazing people that I have managed to fill my life with so much that it seems like everything is bursting at the seams, but I think that’s the best bit.

And best of all, today is Lightcasting Day, and according to Chris, the cutest man on the internet, today I should be focusing on setting boundaries in my life for the nest eighteen months! My god, that is a long time! But he’s totally right. When I was thinking about what today was and what to think about whilst laying in bed, petting Ava’s head, and watching Twin Peaks last night, I was doodling out thoughts about defining what it was I wanted, not just from the outside world, but from myself, and it did all have to do with setting boundaries for how I wanted to be treated. Living on people’s couches, sleeping in friends beds, and oh yes, sharing communal space for two months inside of a bookstore, have all broken down my personal boundaries so much that I think I am due for building up some new ones. Certainly, the walls I am putting up today around myself will not be the towering structures I had around me previously, maybe they will be low, like the sort of fence one has around a herb garden in the back yard, but they will still be there– definite lines drawn in the sand.

So to recap:

Lots of love, new experiences, and above all, new cooking recipes, will be showering this blog very soon and with great frequency.

<3

Things I Love Thursdays

15 Apr

This has been, as some might say, a shit week. But, frankly, every black cloud has a glitter gold lining and here is what mine is made up with…

<3 Deb and Morgan. They are more than just as nice as a basket of kittens, they are also as generous as the Giving Tree.

<3 Shoreditch.

<3 mugs with bunnies on them.

<3 8 mile walks through the city of London in the sunshine so I can see all sorts of bits of it I never saw before.

<3 Baker

<3 Flight of the Conchords on dvd

<3 my lovely sleep mask and my teddy bear

<3 my amazing friends who rallied around me even when they could have been participating in an awesome gay rights flash mob on capital hill.

<3 delicious home cooked meals, vegan style. Oh, I feel so much better already, just eating real, homecooked food again! Nothing processed! Nothing packaged! Just yummy vegetables…

<3 Knowing I can read a map and having fun adventures where I don’t get lost at all!

<3 watching Psycho on the big screen with two of my favorite guys, eating chocolate. It’s okay to have a little bit of a crush on Norman Bates, right?

<3 infinite cups of tea.

<3 Bulgarians!

<3 long talks over greek food.

<3 popcorn made with vanilla butter.

<3 the fact that my friends are all such amazing cooks that most of my happy memories this week revolve around food! I love food…

Things I Love Thursday

10 Apr

Late again. I guess, I love procrastination. Or, to be more honest, I love doing things more than I love sitting in front of the computer. Bad trait for a writer…   

But I’ve had a wicked week!   

My bossses have been gone and that means a house free of children, free of being woken up at 7 am, free from snooping. It was great. It was amazing!   

<3 Being touristy around London with V, checking out Japanese pottery and hair demons, eating yummy food in Chinatown, watching the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, drinking beer in Angel, seeing THREE awesome bands with my friends…   

<3 this band in particular… so good. Summer Camp. It was their first live show EVER and they were absolute stars.   

   

But this video for it is soooo much better! However, WordPress won’t let me add a vimeo video for some reason. But watch that one because it is made from clips from the film Last Summer, which I posted a link to a few entries back. The movie was pretty amazing, the song is super fantastic, and the band made me very happy Friday night. I also bought (for a mere 64 pence!) the sequel to the original novel, Come Winter. I also discovered that Evan Hunter, the author of both of these books wrote another book I really liked, Every Little Crook and Nanny. I read that when I was living in Edinburgh and was trying to read every book in the local library. Now, I won’t say that these books are on par with say, my love of Faulkner, but I will say, if you want some fun, engrossing, interesting books to read on the tube, these are my picks. That’s right, best books to read on the tube! Can that be a category of literature? Short, and therefore lightweight and easy to tote around in your already heavy purse (much easier than the copy of War and Peace I tried to read on my bus ride the other day. I am pretty sure I actually did serious damage to my neck having that in my bag. I’m seriously popping half a coedine a day from the pain! I think War and Peace might be an “at home” read. I blame Deb for making me attempt this).   

<3 Digressing. I love that. Obviously.   

<3 My new dress from H&M. I know I am trying to save money, but I saw this while I was trying to kill time last Friday before meeting up with friends in SoHo. And I couldn’t resist.   

Obviously, the white one in the middle...so floaty, so many fabric flowers, sooo me...

 

<3 Last Friday in SoHo. Oh wow. I had such a great time meeting up with my friend P and all his family. His cousins were so much fun and ordering chips from room service at 3 am was a first for me. I felt very much like a rockstar. Dancing around to music and jumping around on hotel beds was also fun. Having to get up and go to work the next day was less fun. But fondue with Nils and Becca made it soooo much better. I still didn’t get to go swimming though!   

<3 Brand new fabric softner that smells amazing. I know it’s dorky, but one of my big plans this week was to wash every single thing that I own and hang it all up to dry in one massive washing day because there was no one around to get mad that I took up all the space. And now all my clothes and my sheets all smell like the most amazing red flowers. I know it’s just chemicals, but I am very happy about it nonetheless.   

<3 New Vitamins. I bought myself new daily vitamins at Boots, but because it was ‘buy 3 for 2″, I tried a few new things, including one that is chock full of B vitamins and CoQ10. Hopefully this gives me loads more energy. I’m such a dork about vitamins. I love them, but I HATE taking pills. So I always buy the chewable kind. I understand wy kids get so excited about their Flintstone vitamins: it’s like a really healthy piece of candy that I get to have once a day.   

<3 London when it’s sunny. It’s beautiful again and I am so happy. I actually wore that H&M dress twice this week so far and I didn’t wear a coat OR a sweater for most of both wearings. That is right, I wore a floaty sleeveless dress out in the sun. HAPPINESS.   

<3 daffodils. There aren’t as many in London as there are in Edinburgh, but it was like old times yesterday when V and I took some pictures by Ally Pally, while we ate our chocolate chip cookies and strawberry tarts out in the park.   

Edinburgh 2007, as taken by V

 

    

<3 phone calls from Mr. VanWinkle for no reason. I love hearing his voice out of the blue!   

<3 a new webcam from my canadian patron saint. now I have one! woot!   

Also, this video. I don’t normally like music without words, but how  

amazing…the song is very beautiful…and the video makes me breathe very deeply and smile…   

Things I Love Thursday

1 Apr

Things I Love

29 Mar

Right, so I had actual complaints that I just didn’t get around to this lost Thursday! Which actually made me feel fabulous, so thanks. I have so much to be thankful this week, so much to absolutely love, so here goes:

<3 Drawing Parties with the most amazing people in London. I love eating popcorn, sharing colored pencils, sketching people out as fuzzy animals and mermaids.

<3 When beautiful movie stars take me out to dinner and there is champagne, even when I don’t drink it because I am trying to be healthy and good. But I love girly chit chat, I love laughing so hard that my sides hurt as very loud guitar music is played, I love group flirting with under-age waitstaff, I love walking through the streets of East London at night when it shimmers.

<3 I love the nanny mafia and how you can trust and count on the people closest to you to always take care of you and have your back, even when there is some bad shit going on. I love that I can call people up at a moment’s notice and they will drop whatever they are doing to help me out. And I love that I would do the same for them as well.

<3 I love my friends and how generous and amazing they are. How we don’t argue or fight, we just get lost and wander and smile and don’t even care about anything but being with each other…because we have fucking AMAZING adventures.

<3 I love the Tube. Sorry, I totally do. I love sitting on it for long periods of time, people watching, smiling, listening to my ipod.

<3 The Rentals. What a great band. What a great soundtrack to my very happy week.

<3 4am, the rain, a strange place: magic. I don’t want anything else, I don’t need anymore.

<3 Love without sex makes me feel warm like nothing else. Friend Love is indescribable and I can’t fathom why things should have to change…they don’t.

<3 My first football game. My first actually finished beer. My first footie scarf. I cheered, I laughed, I drank beer out of a large plastic cup and had a great time.

<3 Mexican eggs.  I still think Nigella is a slut, but I should thank her for reminding me that this is one of my favorite foods.

<3 This song! Fuck it makes me want to bounce around and kiss random people ;) I love the Futureheads!

<3 My wifey! She gets a special shout out because she is so fucking cute. Go my little G!

<3 Short skirts and leather jackets and multi-colored cows and having a fucking great laugh.

<3 more letters, that show up every day and have the heart stamp of approval all over them.

<3 Kate Nash’s new song

<3 The book: Everything is Illuminated. Thanks Steve for giving it to me, I finally got around to reading it this weekend and I have to say, it may not have been the most appropriate book for my travels (as it made me really sad and a bit angry), but I read it all and it didn’t kill me :)

<3 I think you are a bit of all right !

<3 getting my stuff back and starting a pro-scotland revolution.

<3 the travel bug!

<3 getting the fuck out of my house and the smile lines it causes.

<3 ‘if you weren’t my friend, I’d give you one! You’re hot!’ This is just what you need to hear when you feel hot and sweaty and really really drunk and a bit sick.

<3 Gin in pint glasses. Which means I fell off the wagon, but I prefer to think of it as I JUMPED off the wagon. It was awesome.  Nah, it was rad. ;)

WHEN WE MEET i LISTEN TO your HEARTBEAT. WHEN WE SPEAK i FIND IT HARD TO CONCENTRATE. WHEN WE TOUCH i FIND IT HARD TO THINK STRAIGHT. WE’RE SINGING OUT OF TUNE, BUT i STILL WANT TO SING WITH you!

<3 also, I miss nick something terrible. I know he’s in china being super awesome, but I still wish I could speak to him everyday like normal. Life without having someone to share it all with is less fun. After all, if you can’t make a drunken phone call and describe your day, it’s like it didn’t happen.

<3 top secret missions! spy adventures!

Things I Love Thursdays (late)

20 Mar

Tonight I am watching lectures on Academic Earth. I curse V for showing me this site, nay, informing me that I would have to watch the 26 piece lecture series on the Philosophy of Death, if I wished to be an educated woman and, although this bit was only implied in his cranky tone, to remain his friend. And there is a big part of me that wants to remain on good terms with my exes, so I settled in this afternoon to watch an ‘episode’. I ended up watching 4 lectures from the very amusing and interesting Professor Shelly Kagan from Yale and now I am trying to watch a lecture by the very intense (but loveable) Michael Sander of Harvard about The Morality of Murder. Yes, he’s made the subject loveable. But I wouldn’t trust my opinion, after all, Silence of the Lambs and Rosemary’s Baby are my go-to comfort movies. I know, most girls would pick Bridget Jones and some Ben and Jerry’s, but that’s just having another sad girl cry with you. I watch Rosemary’s Baby on a bad day and I end up thinking, well, it could be worse: Satan could have raped me last night.

All in all, so far today has been a really strange day. I got up very early, did some Tracy Anderson mat work ( I know Miss B!  You want me doing yoga. But I don’t want to have to hum inner peace. I want to listen to some pretty nice music and bounce around until my arms hurt so much that I want to cry. It makes me feel like I accomplished something) and then got dressed up all pretty, because right after I took the boys to school, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. I pretty much love Kensington, all those white houses and perfectly manicured shrubbery and Georgian chairs visible through the open dining room windows that overlook wrought iron balconies, settled above you like peacocks’ nests. And in the museum, which is absolutely stunning, I looked at a lot of beautiful art (including an entire wing of actual wrought iron), but mainly I looked at dresses. I had hoped there would be more than there was, but as I enjoyed my salmon and egg salad sandwich in the garden, where a very adorable gay boy, perfectly turned out himself, and his mother, stopped to compliment my dress, I felt very satisfied. I guess they thought I was wearing a dress from the museum itself, as they had these dresses on sale in the gift shop:

Other things that satisfied me today were:

discovering that not only does Boots now carry Naked juice (which I love!), it is also in the meal deal. I didn’t even know you could buy it in the UK and it was a pleasant surprise at Waterloo Station today.

finding out that you can make money from your skills if you just look around hard enough and push yourself in a new direction. 

I have some great exes. Obviously, things didn’t work out for whatever reason, but when I am having an awful day, they are still some of my best friends and still people I can really turn to. Plus, they are always telling me about cool things like Academic Earth.

Cornflakes. One of the boys demanded that their dad buy it the other day and now we have it in the house, which is great. I had forgotten how much I love cornflakes with strawberries. hmmm. I notice, I am thankful for cereal a lot…

sweet letters flung across the ocean.

baking days with M.

Julia Child’s Life in France, which is making me very happy to read on the tube, albeit it very hungry and confused about vegeteriansim… It also made me watch Julie and Julia and I have to say, I don’t think that there is any reason to hate the blogger Julie Powell. People seem genuinely displeased that she a) made money off her blog (which smacks of indie rock kids whining that people can now buy their favorite bands CDs at a real store) and b) that she isn’t a sweet person, instead she is a very strongly opinionated liberal who swears a lot and had an affair (to be fair, her husband had one too). But what does that have to do with having a cute, quirky cooking blog? And why, if she never meant to make any money off her blog, did she need to watch her political ventings? It’s a blog, it’s self-absorbed in its definition. And did we all forget that Julia was a pretty liberal woman in her own right? I guess a few decades after the fact we can white wash Julia, if we want to, but why? Anyway, I liked both the film and the book and have been cooking up some interesting things myself lately.

Things I Love Thursday

11 Mar

Wow, that week went by so fast, I can’t even believe it! So many great things happened this week…

<3 Getting lost in Brick Lane with the incomparable Miss Emily, dressed to the nines, looking for the Jail House Party! But in the end, we found a cool bar instead, where a film was being shot, and we got to be extras and chat to some cute actors!

<3 Saturday was the day that never happened and all sorts of secret adventures went on. I felt very Alice In Wonderland, if Alice wore head to toe black, leather riding boots and gloves, and snuck around Mayfair with a glint in her eye. Beautiful sun and Buckingham Palace made it the most beautiful day.

<3 Sunday was a day of parties: A and G had a housewarming party where I brought cupcake kebabs and chatted with a slew of interesting people who were all dressed up all pretty and drinking tea and eating cake. The boys made a tea cake with tea icing (think sugar + earl grey tea= the most dense cake ever) and G made a mess of BBQ type foods, including a lovely pepper tart for little veggie me! And then it was Deb’s party and I loved loved loved that!

<3 Butterfly prints to hang on my wall.

<3 Sweet boys cooking me dinner.

<3 Excitement about going to the opera!

<3 suit shopping.

<3 Joe’s Juice Bar on Regents Street.

<3 Being surprised in HMV

<3 going back to all the best places.

<3 baking book club! I cannot wait to go!

<3 brand new friends that are super adorable!

<3 Nil’s bundt cake of amazingness. He is the king of baking book club! And I want the recipe.

<3 raw vegan brownies. I just made some and I am mad impressed with how nicely they came out.

<3 the way the bathroom smells after a shower/bath. All warm and cotton-y, with the sunlight streaming in.

<3 My Life in France by Julia Child. I’m hungry and happy the whole time I’m reading it.

<3 Love letters in French.

<3 make-believe.

<3 changing my mind.

<3 countess bathory on ITV (I’m still pretty goth. sorry!)

Things I Love Thursdays

4 Mar

<3 being back in my own bed (even though the mattress is so hard that I woke up with bruises the first morning back)

<3 having put the spin on my birthday that it was the most punk rock night I have ever had and relishing the sheer lunacy of it all. While trudging through camden at 7 am in the rain is not the best way to the start the day, even I had to start laughing as I walked. Screaming out, singing along to Jamie T did make it better. ha. I certainly channeled my inner Jason.

<3 waking up and falling asleep talking to the same person, every day, for a whole week. Even if it isn’t in real life.

<3 One week ago I was in Nicole’s house and it was awesome. She came home early and treated me to pumpkin raviloli and BISCUITS, big beautiful fluffy AMERICAN biscuits. And yeah, she introduced me to the chef…rad.

<3 The word ‘rad’. It’s pretty much the best word ever and we should all work together to bring it back.

<3 My best mate and how he’s gonna take me to BERLIN!!! I don’t even care that I am putting myself in debt just to pay for the plane ticket, because we are going to have so much fun, even if I have to go watch a footy match. I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait. I really need a real holiday since the last time I did anything even remotely random was last year at Leeds…

<3 Sunday, which is A’s housewarming party and The Fabulous Miss D’s b-day party. And the yummy treats I am going to make for them (I’ll post after, so it remains a surprise!).

<3 The RAD pirate/shark attack cupcakes I prepared this morning. The boys and I will assemble them this afternoon.

<3 tracy anderson. although, maybe i hate her as well. dancing never hurt so much.

<3 emily and getting to see her and the amazing presents she brought for me on my birthday (and the great card!) and the fact that she really is a best friend ever because of the lengths she’ll go and the things she’ll do just to help me out. ’nuff said.

Things I Love Thursday

25 Feb

<3 I love that Rhea and I do little shout outs to each other, because it’s nice to appreciate each other. And when she manages to do this, even when she has so much going on in her life, as she battles MS. I really adore her and all of strength.

<3 Trips to Niagara where I wear a pretty dress and imagine all sorts of funny little things and smile and curl up and I’m very happy.

<3 watching movies all day long and eating a lot of bowls of fruity pebbles.

<3 Skins. My crush on Cook. Coveting Katie Fucking Fitch’s red hair.

<3 watching the Darjeeling Limited and remembering listening to certain songs from the soundtrack, laying on my couch with Ryan and drinking port on a very lonely christmas and smiling at the memory of having such a great friend.

<3 the fact that my mom thinks it would be a good idea to sell the beautiful mahogany piano in our living room, that I never really learned to play, so that I can use the money for my insane and foolhardy backpacking trip. I love my mom. she’s amazing.

<3 again, those words ‘i miss you’, but this time, for real. And written so many times that it becomes a mantra.

<3 Nicole and getting to be the housewife who fixes her yummy dinners for when she comes home from work.

<3 I’m going to go ahead and give Cap’n Crunch its own entry.

I’m so tired and I have so many things to do today, before my plane leaves, so that’s it for today. But I loved seeing everyone I saw and doing all the things I did and I am happy that I know so many fucking amazing people.

Things I Love Thursday

18 Feb

<3 Canada and all Canadians! I had a great time this weekend, so thank you so much Ben and Peyton and June and Jeff and Matt and all the other amazing people I got to meet. I had a great time dressing up and making gin bears and shopping at Kensington Market and eating amazing Italian food and exploring Honest Ed’s and taco bell twice in one day (stop judging us, it’s awesome) and mangos and trash bags full of baked goods and the winter Olympics and dancing around to Miley Cyrus and Marco Longfelllow and Amber Augusta (hehehe) and people loving my coat and tramping around in the early morning in my pjs. Also, Popples. Always Popples.

<3 Ambition. Having some. It’s been pretty cool.

<3 Long conversations that trail through emails to texts to msn and then back again.

<3 Feeling excited.

<3 Cowboy hats.

<3 Did we mention Taco Bell?

<3 Rash decisions.

<3 Long drives.

<3 Niagara Falls.

<3 Singing along to the Violent Femmes at top volume.

<3 Better Off Ted and The Middle. Totally enjoying these two sitcoms. Really brilliant. I actually laughed out loud about a hundred times at Better Off Ted…

<3 the word ‘adore’. A fan of that just now. Best when mixed with cutting wit.

<3 “It Happened One Night.”

 <3 This link…it’s all cute vintage slips and dresses and adorableness: Here’s Looking At You Kid

<3 getting an etsy shop up and running so that I can maybe sell my pillows and get my little butt to Istanbul first class ;) Rabbit Hearts at Etsy

…also, the shoes in this picture that look just like ones I have!

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